3 Quick Steps to Serve the World More Effectively
This world needs more acts of kindness. It also needs incomparable amounts of selfless servitude. These are the things we have the power to control, duplicate, and freely distribute at all times. All of us have the capacity to give back in various forms. This should not be taken likely. Service towards others is what makes us human. It is what makes us successful. It is what completes our purpose and our reason for thriving here on Earth. It is something that is woven into the framework of who we are as individuals, just like our DNA. That’s why it’s so important to really understand service and how we uniquely give back to the world.
When working with mission-driven women, I always ask the question “What does it look like to be intentional in service to others?”
My personal answer? Know yourself and continue to commit to improving how you give back. Here’s how I improve my service-centered self:
I don’t want to volunteer where my skills will not be utilized for the cause. Some think that service is touchy-feely, and that touchy-feely things do not require planning, strategy, and informed logic. If you are service-centered, it is even more important that you approach giving back as something that requires a clear plan so you are able to execute at your best. A part of that plan is knowing what you’re good at. Knowing what you bring to the table. I will never apply for a finance and accounting position at a business because I know I would suck at it. I would feel inadequate and underutilized, and the company wouldn’t be getting the best out of me and my ability. This should be the same way you approach service and volunteerism. By understanding your unique skills and how you directly serve the world, you are able to align your inner strengths in ways that will be most effective to you and the cause you’re combating. Service requires you impacting someone’s life. That’s no joke. Take it seriously. That means assessing what you bring to the table and working within that space so you’re able to be the most effective.
You cannot serve effectively without understanding your own level of empathy, and how it will affect the constituents you come in contact with. Self-assessment is key here. Are you able to dive deep with people and understand where they are coming from in terms of THEIR frame of reference? Are you able to check your own perceptions, biases, and opinions of others and ask yourself where your convictions come from? Are you okay with challenging your norm and thriving in a space where it may be disproven? Take in the environment, emotions, and people around you, and ask yourself how those elements make you feel. Do you feel uncomfortable? Why? Ask these questions while you are preparing to go out and serve, while you’re actively serving, and after during your time of reflection. This is where we move from transactional service to transformational service. Be in a space where service allows you to be transformed and well as doing the transforming.
Be responsible about knowing the issues directly connected to your cause. In my career, I have experienced volunteers who were well informed before plugging in. I have also experienced volunteers who had absolutely no frame of reference about the issue they were partnering to combat. Those levels of knowledge have both their perks and disadvantages, but in my personal experience, I lean towards due diligence. When you go in for a job interview, you’ve already reviewed the history of the company, it’s different departments, who you will be working with, and industry standards. Service should be no different. If you have decided to assist the homeless population, know about the causes of homelessness in your area, research other individuals and organizations making a difference in the space and get caught up on the solutions that have worked and haven’t worked in the past. Be informed about the cause you are connecting to. It will offer insight into knowing if your selected issue is really something you want to be involved in. It will serve as a baseline to connect knowledge with true understanding and experience when you start to plug into community.
Service isn’t something to be taken likely. It’s something to be regarded with serious dedication and sacredness.
Now I ask you. What does it look like to be intentional in service to others? If you are in the business of giving back, revisit your answer to this question daily. It will increase your effectiveness and maximize your reach for those you serve.
Breauna Dorelus is the Chief Cause Consultant at Connecting the Cause, where she is dedicated to building effective volunteer programs for nonprofits through the use of transformative volunteering strategies. As a service-driven millennial, she is also dedicated to igniting women to serve through the power of volunteerism, and passionate about connecting people to their purpose through giving back. She is currently enrolling women the Passion to Action Intensive where she helps them develop and implement their service-centered passion projects.